Best Water For GoldFish (Tap, Bottled, Distilled, Or Well Water?)

Considering the number of people who have Goldfish as pets, many people still do not know what type and specifications of water to keep their Goldfish in. If you are one of them, no need to worry. This article will satisfy your concerns regarding Goldfish keeping and will help you keep your Goldfish happy and healthy!

Goldfish is the most common and the first fish that comes to your mind when you are talking about fish keeping. These magnificent species of fish can be found almost anywhere, from rivers to lakes to streams. They can survive in moderate as well as tropical temperatures but keeping them as a pet may come as a risk to them.

Best Water For GoldFish

People are led to believe that if these fish can be found anywhere, they can be kept in any sort of condition. This is where they are wrong, and I will highlight how that is in this article.

What are the ideal water conditions for GoldFish?

The ideal temperature for your Goldfish is in the range of 68-74 °F or 20-23 °C. However, some Goldfish have been known to survive freezing temperatures as well, but they are mostly adapted to those conditions, having lived in those ponds and lakes for a while. On the other hand, some Goldfish can also survive extremely high temperatures, but that too is limited to their environment and may result in a shorter life span. It is hence, best to keep your Goldfish in the range of 20-23 °C, as it is the safest temperature for them.

gold fish Water Temperature


As Goldfish are a freshwater species of fish, they can live in the range of pH of 7 to 8.4. However, it is ideal to keep them in water with a pH of 7.4. Too sudden pH drops can cause your Goldfish to stress out, so make sure that the pH level never changes too drastically.

Water Hardness

This is the measure of the mineral content of the water. It is good to have certain minerals in the water for the growth of your Goldfish, but excessive mineral content may be harmful to these fish. In the unit of General Hardness or GH, 200-400 ppm is the ideal GH for your Goldfish. If this is confusing for you, just skip this requirement, and focus on the maintenance of the temperature and pH of the tank water for your Goldfish, as these two are the most crucial elements.

Keeping GoldFish in Tap Water

The first and most common mistake that people make when keeping Goldfish as pets, is to keep them in tap water. If you are doing this and wondering why your Goldfish would not survive, well you might be unknowingly killing them yourselves. Here is why:

Tap water fish

Chlorine and Chloramines

For cleaning purposes, the water distribution authorities add chlorine to the water. So, the tap water we drink and use in our daily lives contains chlorine and its compounds with Nitrogen, namely Chloramines. As they are used to disinfect water to make it safe for us to drink, it is not essentially a very good choice for your Goldfish. Chlorine and Chloramines kill the bacteria in the water which might be good for your fish. This hinders the process of cycling, which converts the harmful waste of Ammonia from the Goldfish to less harmful chemicals. The absence of bacteria altogether will stop this process and may cause your Goldfish to die of Ammonia poisoning.

Heavy Metals

Untreated tap water contains a large number of metal elements that cannot be seen by the naked eye, but their presence is undeniable. Metals such as Cadmium, Lead, and Zinc are mostly present in tap water. These metals are toxic for the Goldfish and can cause their gill function to collapse and cause them to die.


Nitrites and nitrates are produced due to the breaking of ammonia during the process of cycling. While nitrates, in a very small amount, are good for the health of your Goldfish, nitrites can be extremely harmful. Tap water may also contain nitrates which may cause Brown Blood Disease in your Goldfish, which can turn your Goldfish’s blood to turn a deep brown color and can be deadly.

Goldfish are very picky when it comes to water, and tap water is their least favorite. Imagine being forced to live in an environment, where you have to breathe toxic gases all the time. I have seen Goldfish trying to escape tap water, by gasping for air at the surface of their water tank and even jumping out of the tank. So, this is one of the worst things that you can do to your Goldfish by keeping them in tap water.

Keeping GoldFish in Bottled Water

For people who know that tap water may be harmful to their fish, they ask whether can they use bottled water and spring water instead. The answer is yes. You can use bottled water and spring water for your Goldfish, but that too has some restrictions to it:

  • Make sure that the water that you are using is free of Chlorine and Chloramines.
  • Test the hardness of the water from springs to check for heavy metals.
  • Chlorine added to bottled water may be removed, but chloramines need to be treated properly.
  • It can become extremely pricey if you are catering to large tanks and aquariums.
goldfish in bottle

Keeping GoldFish in Distilled Water

Distilled water is the purest form of water available. But it can be too pure to keep your Goldfish in, as they require their fair share of minerals and bacteria to function properly. Distilled water can be used for your Goldfish tank if you can somehow add minerals to it. It can also be used when the water in your fish tank has evaporated and become concentrated in minerals. I, personally, do not recommend using distilled water as it is not only expensive but also deprives your Goldfish of essential mineral content.

Keeping GoldFish in Distilled Water

How to arrange the perfect water for your GoldFish?

Perfect water conditions include appropriate temperature, pH, and mineral content for your Goldfish. Here is how this can be ensured:

  • Temperature:  A heater can be used to maintain the temperature of your Goldfish tank. Heaters are easily available on Amazon, and you can buy one that best suits your requirement. It is best that the heater you are buying comes with a thermostat as well. The thermostat detects the change and deviation of temperature from the required range and prompts the heater to bring back the temperature to the optimum level.
  • pH: Regular water changes and testing can help you achieve the ideal pH for your Goldfish. If the pH of the tank water is too high than what is required, you may use driftwood and almond leaves to lower it. If the pH drops too low, you can remove the driftwood, and use seaweed and limestone to raise it back t optimum.
  • Safe and Pollutant-Free Water: This can be done in two ways, the expensive and the economical.
  • Buying treated water from the pet store: This can be done if you have a small fishbowl to fill, but this can be highly expensive when you have a fish tank or an aquarium.
  • Treating your own tap water to make it habitable for your Goldfish: The easiest way to provide good water for your Goldfish is to use your tap water and make it less miserable for them to live in.

How to Treat tap water for your GoldFish?

There are several techniques to treat tap water to make it work for Goldfish. I have tried listing down a few for you to follow:

  • Sodium Thiosulfate: A drop or two of Sodium Thiosulfate kills off the chlorine and chloramine molecules in the water. This can be easily bought off the shelf from a pet store or a chemist.
  • Degassing: This technique is suitable for water containing chlorine. Tap water must be left in an open bucket or container for a day or two. I would suggest that you keep it for around 36 hours. This will cause the chlorine to evaporate from the surface of the water, making your tap water chlorine-free. However, this technique does not work to remove Chloramines from the tap water, hence is not advised.
  • Water Conditioner: This too is readily available at the pet store. A water conditioner neutralizes the Chlorine and Chloramine molecules in the water to make the water safe for Goldfish. Some water conditioners may include stress coat boosters that also keep the Goldfish immune from diseases. Make sure that you buy the one that neutralizes both Chlorine and Chloramines as well.
  • Sea Salt: Adding sea salt can also improve the quality of the water tank. This can be added an addition to the water conditioner as it helps improve the breathing function of your Goldfish.

How to prevent poor water Quality?

You can certainly prevent your Goldish from living in dirty water by following these simple and basic rules:

  • Lots of Water: Goldfish like to have their own personal space and it is best to keep them in large tanks with ample water for them to roam about in. This will not just keep them happy but will also prevent poor water quality as there is more water to breathe in and out in, keeping the waste concentration at a minimum. Ideally, one Goldfish needs around 10 gallons of water. So, if you wish to keep more of them, make sure to buy a bigger tank with enough water.
  • Regular Water Changes: It is best to change the water in your Goldfish tank once every two weeks. This will prevent the build-up of waste and pollutants and keep a healthy environment for your Goldfish.

How to Test water Conditions?

It is best to keep a check on the water conditions of your Goldfish’s tank. This can be done using different meters and testing kits.

  • Thermometers: These will help you measure the temperature of your Goldfish’s tank.
  • pH meters/strips: These will measure the pH level of the water in the Goldfish tank.
  • Ammonia kit: These kits test the ammonia concentration in the water tank and are extremely helpful as ammonia can be harmful to your Goldfish if not removed.

How to Change the water of Your GoldFish Tank?

I am sharing some easy steps for you to follow, that I follow myself, for changing the water in the Goldfish tank. Make sure to keep a bucket with you for old water that you will be removing from the tank. Now, follow the steps below:

goldfish in Tank
  • Use a vacuum to clean debris that is excessive and remove gravel from the floor of your aquarium or tank.
  • Turn off all the electronics in your tank, such as heaters, lights, pumps, etc. before removing the water.
  • Vacuum out about one-third of the volume of water in the tank, into the bucket. Make sure that you do not remove more than one-third of 30% of the water from the tank.
  • Fish keepers make the mistake of rinsing the filter sponges with tap water. Do not do this. Instead, rinse the sponges in the old water that you have just vacuumed out.
  • Now, fill back your tank with the amount of water that you have previously removed from it. You may fill your tank back with tap water that has been degassed. But I prefer using tap water with a water conditioner, as it is easier, quicker, and effective in removing Chloramines as well.
  • Make sure that you pour the water into the tank slowly; as it will help your Goldfish adjust to the different temperatures of the water being added.


Keeping Goldfish can be easy if you understand what your Goldfish’s requirements are. All they really need is clean and safe water and appropriate temperature and pH conditions. Just remember that Chlorine and Chloramines are extremely harmful to your Goldfish, so please do not go on about killing them by using untreated tap water.

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